- Museum number
- Object: A peace offering to the genius of liberty and equality.
English sansculottes, wearing bonnets-rouges and without breeches, advance with offerings towards the hideous embodiment of republican liberty, a woman straddling across a pyramid of gin-barrels. Stanhope is the foremost; a model of the 'House of Lords' on his head, he offers a 'Bible', sceptre, and crown, while a mitre falls from his hand (see BMSat 8442, &c). Next is Sheridan, a model of 'The Bank' on his head. Fox, next, is by his bulk the most prominent of the band. He carries the 'India House' on his head (as in BMSat 6271); in his left hand he drags along the royal arms, from which the British Lion is departing in disgust, cf. BMSat 6380, &c. Behind him walks Whitbread with three barrels on his head inscribed 'Whitbreads Intire' (cf. BMSat 8638). Next walks the immensely rich Duke of Bedford, carrying a staff to which is attached a bill or banknote: '£5 London Promise Five (erased) Noland' [for Newland, cf. BMSat 7839]; from his pocket issues a paper, 'Item to remember my own Poverty B--f-- D--------'. Last, and on the extreme left, is Erskine, carrying on his head a pile of books: 'Treason \ Law of \ Libel \ Misprison of [Treason]'.
The monstrous emblem of the French Republic (cf. BMSat 8442) has a wide grin; serpents writhe in her unkempt hair, spitting out a halo of flames inscribed: 'Rapine', 'Murder', 'Famine,' 'Atheism'; other serpents emerge from between her pendent breasts. In her right hand is a bottle of 'Gin', in her left a knife; her dress is ragged, with a belt inscribed 'Republiq[ue]'. The topmost of the barrels on which she sits is 'Hollands Gin', from a barrel on the right emerges a bewildered-looking Dutchman. Her right foot rests on a skull. At her feet lies Justice, decapitated, her (broken) sword beside her, while Stanhope kicks the scales which she has dropped. Above the design: 'The British Delegates Respectful application for Peace'. Beneath the title is etched: 'Dedicated to those Lovers of French Freedom who would thus Debase their Country.' 10 February 1794.
- Production date
Height: 265 millimetres
Width: 385 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
An attack on the Opposition similar in spirit to BMSat 8424. It was probably inspired by Stanhope's motion of 23 Jan. 1794 to acknowledge the French Republic. 'Parl. Hist.' xxx. 1287-97; G. Stanhope and G. P. Gooch, 'Life of Charles third Earl Stanhope', 1914, pp. 126-8. Stanhope was in correspondence with Barere. Ibid., p. 134. Fox had made a motion for peace with France on 17 June 1793 ('Parl. Hist.' xxx. 994 ff.), cf. BMSat 8437, &c. The coalition is remembered, as in BMSat 8311, &c. The conquest of Holland, see BMSat 8608, &c, is foreshadowed. For Bedford's 'poverty' cf. BMSat 9167, &c.
Early in 1794 not only was Britain at war with France but horrifying news was regularly crossing the Channel of the atrocities of the "Terror", yet opposition politicians were suggesting an accommodation with France. Liberty is now portrayed as a terrifying hag rather than the beautiful young woman of the early days of the Revolution.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984 Feb-Apr, London, Museum of London, 'Samuel Whitbread II'
2008-09 Sept-Jan, BM, Room 90, Liberty in Political Prints, 1760-1820
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number